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Dr. Fitzgerald

Terrence D. Fitzgerald, SUNY Distinguished Professor

Dr. Fitzgerald


  • SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, B.S., M.S. 
  • Oregon State University, Ph.D. 

Courses Frequently Taught

  • General Ecology
  • Biology of Insects
  • Animal Behavior

Scholarly Interests 

My research interests concern the behavioral and chemical ecology of social caterpillars. Much of my work has involved tent caterpillars but more recently I have been studying social species occurring in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Spain. I maintain a website on the behavioral ecology of social caterpillars.

I particularly encourage students interested in behavior and ecology to work in my laboratory. Over the summer I usually have several students conducting laboratory and field studies. A number of my technical papers have been co-authored with undergraduates. Photo of Hummingbird


Selected Publications

  • Peterson, S. C. and T. D. Fitzgerald. 1991. Chemoorientation of eastern  tent caterpillars to trail pheromone 5bcholestane-3-24-dione. J. Chem.  Ecol. 17: 1963-1972.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D., K. Clark, R. Vanderpool and C. Phillips. 1991. Leaf  shelter-building caterpillars harness forces generated by axial  retraction of stretched and wetted silk. J. Insect Behav. 4: 21-32.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D. 1993. Trail following and recruitment: response of  eastern tent caterpillar Malacosoma americanum to  5b-cholestane-3-24-dione and 5b-cholestan-3-one. J. Chem. Ecol. 19:449-457.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D. 1993. Sociality in Caterpillars, pp. 372-403 in  "Caterpillars: Ecological and Evolutionary Constraints on Foraging".  Chapman and Hall New York.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D. 1993. Trail and arena marking by caterpillars of  Archips cerasivoranus (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). J. Chem. Ecol.  19:1479-1489.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D. and F. X. Webster. 1993. Identification and behavioral  assays of the trail pheromone of the forest tent caterpillar_  _Malacosoma disstria Hubner (Lepidoptera: Lasiocampidae). Can. J.  Zool. 71:1511-1515.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D., /K. Clark./ 1994. Analysis of leaf-rolling behavior  of Caloptilia serotinella_ _(Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). J. Insect.  Behav.7: 859-872.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D. 1995. The Tent Caterpillars. Cornell University Press.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D. 1995. Caterpillars roll their own. Natural History  Magazine 104:30-37

  • Fitzgerald, T. D. and C. R. Visscher. 1996. Foraging behavior and  growth of isolated larvae of the social caterpillar Malacosoma  americanum. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 81: 293-299/./

  • Costa, J. T. and* *T. D. Fitzgerald. 1996. Developments in social  terminology: semantic battles in a conceptual war. Trends in Research in  Ecology and Evolution 11: 285-289.

  • Fitzgerald, T.D. and D.L.A. Underwood. 1998. Trail marking by the larva  of the Madrone butterfly Eucheira socialis and the role of the trail  pheromone in communal foraging behavior. J. Insect Behav. 11:247-263.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D. and D.L.A. Underwood. 1998. Communal foraging behavior  and recruitment communication in Gloveria sp. (Lepidoptera:  Lasiocampidae). J. Chem. Ecol. 24:1381-1396.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D, and J. T. Costa. 1999. Collective behavior in social  caterpillars, pp. 379-400 in C. Detrain, J. L. Deneubourg, and J. M.  Pasteels eds. Information Processing in Social Insects. Birkhauser, Basel.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D. and D. L. Underwood. 2000. Winter foraging patterns  and voluntary hypothermia in the social caterpillar Eucheira socialis.  Ecological Entomology 25:1-10

  • Wagner,D.W., J. L. Loose, T. D. Fitzgerald, J. A. De Benedictis, and  D.R. Davis). 2000. A Hidden Past: the Hypermetamorphic Development of  Marmara arbutiella (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Ann. Ent. Soc. Amer.,  93(1): 59-64.

  • Costa, J. T., T.D. Fitzgerald, and D.H. Janzen. 2002. Trail-following  and natural history of the social caterpillar of Arsenura armida in  Costa Rica (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae:Arsenurinae). Tropical Lepidoptera.  In press.

  • Fitzgerald, T.D. 2001. Night life of social caterpillars. Natural  History Magazine, February issue

  • Fitzgerald, T. D. and A. Pescador-Rubio. 2002. Trail marking, trail  following and source of the trail pheromone of the processionary  caterpillar Hylesia lineata, Druce (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae). J.  Insect Behavior. 15: 659-674.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D., P. M. Jeffers, and D. Mantella. 2002. Depletion of  host derived cyanide in the gut of the eastern tent caterpillar,  /Malacosoma americanum. J. Chem. Ecol. 28:257-268.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D. and Panades i Blas, X. 2003. Mid-winter foraging of  colonies of the pine processionary caterpillar Thaumetopoea pityocampa,  schiff. (Thaumetopoeidae). J. Lepidop. Soc 57: 161-167.//

  • Fitzgerald, T. D. 2003. The role of a trail pheromone in the foraging  and processionary behavior of Thaumetopoea pityocampa. J. Chemical  Ecology. 12: 513-532.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D. 2003. The biology of the tent caterpillar as it  relates to mare reproductive loss syndrome. Proceeding of the first  workshop on mare reproductive loss syndrome. Univ. Kentucky Agric. Expt.  Sta. Pub SR-2003-1: 84-87.

  • Dirikolu, L., C. Hughes, D. Harkins, J. Boyles, J. Bosken, F. Lehner, A.  Troppmann, K. McDowell, T. Tobin, M. Sebastian, L. Harrison, J.  Crutchfield, S. I. Baskin, T. D. Fitzgerald, 2003. The toxicokinetics of  cyanide and mandelonitrile in the horse and their relevance to the mare  reproductive loss syndrome. Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods13: 199 –  211. Toxicology Mechanism and Methods 13: 199-212.

  • Sebastian, M., M. G. Ganz, T. Tobin, J. D. Harkins, C. Hughes, L. R.  Harrison, W. V. Bernard, D. L. Richter and T. D. Fitzgerald. 2003. The  mare reproductive loss syndrome and the eastern tent caterpillar: A  toxicological/statistical analysis with clinical, epidemiological, and  mechanistic implications. Veterinary Therapeutics 4: 324-339.

  • Harkins J, Dirikolu L, Sebastian M, Hughes C, Crutchfield J, Troppmann  A, Boyles J, Webb B, McDowell K, Long W, Henning J, Harrison L,  Fitzgerald T, Tobin T: Cherry trees, plant cyanogens, caterpillars and  Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome: Toxicological evaluation of a working  hypothesis. In Powell DG, Troppman A, Tobin T (eds), Proc First Workshop  on Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome, Lexington, KY, 2002, pp68-74.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D. 2003. Setae and MRLS. The Horse Online. Electronic  publication article 4609.

  • Costa, J. T., Fitzgerald, T. D., Pescador-Rubio, A., Mays, J., and  Janzen, D. H. 2004. Group foraging behavior of larvae of the Neotropical  processionary weevil /Phelypera distigma /(Boheman) (Coleoptera:  Curculionidae:Hyperinae). Ethology, 110: 515-530.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D., Pescador-Rubio, A., and J. T. Costa, M. Turna. 2004.  Trail Making and Processionary behavior of the larvae of the weevil  Phelypera distigma/ (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). J. Insect Behavior 17:  627-646.

  • Costa, J. T., Fitzgerald, T. D. 2005. Social terminology revisited: Where  are we ten years later? Ann. Zool. Fennici 42: 559–564.

  • Sebastian M M, Harrison LR, Bernard W, Newman K, Donahue JM, Vickers ML,  Fitzgerald TD, Lynn B, Tobin T 2005. Mare reproductive loss syndrome:  Irradiated tent caterpillars induce abortion in mares. Vet Pathol 42: 724

  • Lynn E. Fletcher, Jayne Yack, T. D. Fitzgerald, and R. Hoy. 2006.  Vibrational communication in the cherry leaf roller Caloptilia  serotinella (Gracillarioidea: Gracillariidae). J. Insect Behavior 19  (1): 1-18.

  • Sebastian, M. M., W. V. Bernard, and T. D. Fitzgerald. 2006. Mare  Reproductive Loss Syndrome. Compendium: Equine Edition.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D. 2008. Larvae of the fall webworm, Hyphantria cunea,  inhibit cyanogenesis in Prunus serotina. J. Experimental Biology 211:  671-677.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D. 2008. Use of a pheromone mimic to cause the  disintegration and collapse of of colonies of tent caterpillars  (Malacosoma spp.). J. Applied Entomology 211: 671-677.

  • Fitzgerald, T.D. A. Pescador-Rubio and G. Isaacs. 2008. Foraging  behavior of the social caterpillar Eutachyptera psidii (Sallé)  (Lepidoptera: Lasiocampidae) during a prolonged period of food and water  deprivation. Ecological Entomology, 33:727-734.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D. 2008. Tent Caterpillars in J. Capinera ed.  Encyclopedia of Entomology 2nd ed.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D. 2008. Aposematism in Archips cerasivoranus not  linked to the sequestration of host-derived cyanide. J. Chem. Ecology,  34: 1283-1289.

  • Fitzgerald, T. D. 2008. March of the caterpillars. Natural History Magazine,  177 September.

  • M. M. Sebastian; W. V. Bernard; T. W. Riddle; C. R. Latimer; T. D.  Fitzgerald; L. R. Harrison . 2008. Mare reproductive loss syndrome. Vet.  Pathol 2008 45: 710-722.

  • Pescador-Rubio A, Stanford-Camargo SG, Páez-Gerardo LE, Ramírez-Reyer AJ, Ibarra-Jimenez RA, Fitzgerald TD. 2011.  Trail marking by caterpillars of the silverspot butterfly Dione juno huascuma.  Journal of Insect Science 11:55 available online:

  • Fitzgerald T.D., S. Miller, and M. Smith.  2012.  Thermal properties of the tent of early instar colonies of the eastern tent caterpillar, Malacosoma americanum (Lepidoptera:Lasiocampidae).  Journal of Thermal Biology 37:615-624.

  • Fitzgerald, T.D., Michael Wolfin, Frank Rossi, James E. Carpenter and Alfonso Pescador-Rubio.  2014.  Trail marking by the larvae of the cactus moth Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera:Pyralidae).  Journal of Insect Science.

  • Fitzgerald, T.D., Michael Kelly, Tyler Potter, James E. Carpenter, Frank Rossi. 2015.  Trail Following Response fo Larval Cactoblastis cactorum to 2-Acyl-1,3 Cyclohexanediones, J. Chem. Ecology 41:409-417.

  • Fitzgerald, T.D. 2015.  Temporal and spatial foraging behavior of the larvae of the fall webworm Hypantria cunea.  Psyche Volune 2015 (2015), Article ID 359765

  • Fitzgerald, T.D., Carpenter, J. & Night, S. Larval pheromone disrupts pre-excavation aggregation of Cactoblasis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) neonates precipitating colony collapse.  Florida Entomologist 102 (3), 538-543

  • Francis Rossi, Daniel Rojas, Danielle A. Cervasio, John Posillico, Kyle Paralla, Terrence D. Fitzgerald.  "Response fo the Neonate Larvae of Cactoblastis cactorum to Synthetic Cactoblastins, Newly Identified Pheromonal Componets of the Caterpillar's Mandibular Glands."  Chemoecology 2020, 38 (4), 245-253.